Date
28 July 2017
Several eligible buyers of De Novo housing units in Kai Tak have backed out as they feel the prices are not attractive enough. Photo: HKEJ
Several eligible buyers of De Novo housing units in Kai Tak have backed out as they feel the prices are not attractive enough. Photo: HKEJ

URA’s De Novo project sees poor sales as buyers get cold feet

The Urban Renewal Authority’s subsidized housing project in Kai Tak, De Novo, saw lackluster response from eligible buyers as the first batch of apartments went on sale on Tuesday.

Of the initial batch of 68 units, only 19 were taken up during the flat-selection process on the first day, according to reports.

It suggests that many potential buyers developed cold feet.

AM730 quoted Wong Kwan, chairman of the Federation of Public Housing Estates, as saying that De Novo looks unattractive as the URA has not adjusted the selling price despite the current market situation.

De Novo will offer 338 subsidized flats in total.

The flat-selection process has been brought forward from an initial schedule of May as the review and approval process had been smoother than expected, according to the URA.

But some industry players say the URA may be trying to offload the units faster as it fears market sentiment could sour further.

The first batch of 68 buyers was invited on Tuesday for flat selection. But 70 percent of them didn’t show up.

Eventually, only 19 units were sold — four studio units, 12 one-room flats, and 3 two-room flats — with the prices ranging from HK$3.4 million to HK$6.4 million.

Tuesday marked the first-day of a four-day sale which will see a total of 264 eligible applicants invited to select their apartments.

Many buyers feel the units are expensive given the slowdown in the local property market in recent months.

One of the initially interested buyers, a man surnamed Kwok who planned to take up a 400-square-foot flat, said he changed his mind at the last minute as he felt he was not being offered sufficient discount.

According to some real estate agents, second-hand property prices in Kai Tak have dropped 10 percent in the first three months of this year.

This has left De Novo with little or no appeal in the eyes of potential homeowners.

Alice Mak Mei-kuen, a non-executive director at URA, said she is aware that there have been some changes in the local housing market.

However, it may be difficult to adjust the selling prices of De Novo units, she said, noting that any price revision has to be approved by the URA.

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